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Health Rep. 2010 Dec;21(4):35-45.

Asthma and school functioning.

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Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada.



The impact of asthma on school performance particularly compared with that of other chronic conditions, is relatively unexplored, and the results of analyses that have been conducted are inconclusive. This article examines associations between asthma and school functioning.


The data are from the 1998/1999 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. The study pertains to a sample of 8,914 children aged 7 to 15. Descriptive and regression analyses were used to examine associations between asthma severity and scores on standardized math and reading tests, and maternal ratings of school performance. School absence and the use of educational services were considered as potential mediators. Comparisons were made with children who had other chronic conditions or no chronic conditions.


Compared with children who did not have a chronic condition, children with asthma scored lower on standardized math and reading tests and had less favourable mother-reported school performance. Those with the most severe asthma had the poorest outcomes. These associations persisted when adjusting for child and family factors. The poorer scholastic outcomes were not mediated by school absence. However, the use of educational services appeared to mediate low math scores for children with severe asthma.


The relationship between asthma and children's school functioning may be of interest to physicians and educators. Educational support and remedial services may be beneficial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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